Palm Os users usually see the Fossil WristPDA(review) as the first smart watch – but this isn’t true. A variety of manufacturers attempted to create and market all kinds of smart watches – but Brando’s is the first one to offer video playback and voice recording in addition to MP3 playback! Looks like an ambitious set of features – how does the box fare in practice?

Package contents/shipping
Like all other Brando products, the MP4 watch ships in a large envelope via standard mail. The envelope contains a huge box that contains the watch, a US-Only charger, the USB cable, a set of headphones, the software CD and a miserable manual:
0a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 0b The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 0c The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 0d The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 0e The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 0f The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review

First impressions
Compared to the WristPDA, the Brando MP4 watch is quite a bit smaller, but also feels cheaper(especially the strap):
1a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 1b The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review
The watch has three buttons on each side; they are comfortable to press. The left side has the standard 2’5inch headset jack, the right side has the proprietary USB connector(this is NOT miniUSB!!!):
2a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 2b The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review

The screen
Brando claims that the MP4 watch has a 128×128 pixel OLED screen. While I cant confirm the OLEDness from the outside, the screen has exceptionally high contrast(next to Treo 600):
3a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review
Black really is black here – absolutely no residue light:
4a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review
I tested the screen indoors and in mild sun, and had absolutely no problems. While the screen could maybe have been a tiny bit brighter, it does a very very good job overall!

Navigation
The watch has a highly hierarchical menu system that has a graphical top layer:
5a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 5b The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 5c The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 5d The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 5e The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review
Navigating through the menus can be difficult at times as key layouts change dependant on the screen – it took me about 20 minutes to figure it all out.

The menu system itself is very very fast – absolutely no lag here. However, long song names scroll by slowly – this could have been solved better maybe:
8a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review

MP3 playback
The main feature of this watch IMHO is its ability to play back media. I installed a few MP3 files onto it and had no problems with the various standard bandwidths(128k, 192k, 260k). 320k files stutter every now and then – a bit annoying, but the stuttering stops when the watch goes into “sleep” mode after a few seconds.

The player interface itself is simple – you see the time remaining, the name of the song and how many songs are in the folder. When one folder is complete, the watch simply switches over to the next folder – shuffle, custom playlists, etc are not available:
7a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review
Forwarding and rewinding a song takes a very long time, as the watch keeps rewinding with an ever-constant rate of about 3 secs per real second. Also, finding tracks in folders is difficult because of the slow scroll speed of the file names:
8a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review

Voice recording
The MPEG4 watch can record audio – an impressive feature for such a small device. The quality of the recordings is very high, an hour takes about 60 megabytes of storage.

Here is a sample of a recording.

Photo viewing
Brando claims that the MP4 watch can act as a photo viewer. I installed a few small JPEGs onto it – bummer, no go!

Images need to be converted to RAW format with a desktop software. They can then be displayed one by one on the watch’s screen – and that’s it. No zooming, panning, etc is supported:
9a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review

Video playback
Video playback works via a converter, too. A classic VGA review video from a digital camera grew by almost 50% when converted to the NXV format(128×128) – the main problem is that the videos format was adjusted to be fullscreen compatible. So, a rectangular video gets square – but it still looks pretty well.

Choosing a better-fitting aspect ratio in the converter works – but you then have to put up with a white area at the bottom:
10a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review
Conversion takes place in real-time – converting a 50 second video takes 50 seconds..

Transferring data
Getting data onto the MP4 watch is simple if you have the connector cable handy – connect the watch to the PC and it automatically starts charging:
11a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review
When data is being transferred, the watch shows transfer on the status monitor – data transfers work with about half a megabyte per second.

Headphones
The included headphones provide good audio quality. However, I prefer my Icemat headphones in combination with Brando’s headphone adaptor. Audio is more than loud enough for most genres – no problems in this department either!
12a The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review 12b The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review

Overall impression
Being the smart watch freak that I am, this watch is an immediate buy(1GB version costs 99$, 2GB cost 139$). The software could still use a bit of fine-tuning(occasional crashes, quirky handling, extra features) and the manual is a joke – but other than that, I cannot complain about this “watch”.

Videos look good, audio is clear, the battery holds a decent charge(5h of MP3 playback are no problem) – if you like the idea of a watch that plays movies, get this one by all means!

Related posts:

  1. The Brando USB Missile Launcher
  2. WristPDA watch faces
  3. The Brando 55-in-1 card reader review
  4. Brando Music Dock review
  5. Brando headphone jack adaptor

56 Responses to “The Brando MP4 Watch – The Review”

  1. Hey i’ve got a watch like that but the problem is that the butten doesn’t work anymore,so there’s no way to put the volume louder.
    Any Suggestions?

  2. Btw,if the watch doesn’t react on aything e.g resetting,just leave it for the battery to run low.
    After is falls out you can turn it on normally again.

  3. i bought this watch a month ago
    at first i didn’t have a probleme with it (i barely used it) but now it dosen’t seem to connect w/ the computer
    i don’t know what to do. i can’t use it anymore
    could someone help me please?
    i have 2 more questions? what is the number before the date it’s goes from 1 tp 6?
    how much you let it charge? i can let mine days and never shows full baterry?

    thanks

  4. Hi Folks,
    once again: I don’t use this watch anymore and thus can’t answer any questions. Please contact your seller!

    Sorry!

    Tam

  5. Were can you get free online videos and movies to download to the watch?

  6. Hi,
    no idea – and we generally don’t condone illegal downloads here.

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

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